ONE NIGHT – and one night only! – for ONE DROP

An artist rehearses for the upcoming ONE NIGHT for ONE DROP benefit show. The one-night-only March 22 performance marks several firsts in Cirque du Soleil history.

BELLAGIO – In a few short weeks, something unprecedented in the history of Las Vegas and Cirque du Soleil will take place.

Every Cirque show on the Strip will go dark on the same night as hundreds of select artists, aerialists, technicians and crew members collaborate to put on a benefit show in Bellagio’s “O” Theatre. Cirque du Soleil Production Manager Russ Petroni has been working since last summer on a project which will culminate March 22 in a one-time-only production, ONE NIGHT for ONE DROP. While the show, benefitting local and global water conservation and drinking water-access efforts, may be fleeting, Mr. Petroni hopes it will make a lasting impression.

“I think of it a bit like the Olympics – athletes spend their whole lives training for this one moment, and they have just one chance at it,” he said. “You do everything in your power to do it spectacularly well and to make sure that moment is the best it can possibly be. It’s your moment – that’s what’s thrilling.”

For Mr. Petroni and his team, the moment is now just two short weeks away.

Cirque founder Guy Laliberté in 2007 formed his ONE DROP non-profit organization, which works to secure water access in developing countries and promote water conservation around the world. MGM Resorts joined the effort in 2012 with a $1 million, five-year commitment. That partnership is expanding this year with the special ONE NIGHT for ONE DROP show and gala at Bellagio.

ONE NIGHT for ONE DROP will raise money for water access and conservation issues around the world. It takes place March 22 in the "O" Theatre.

About 240 artists and acrobats are involved in the production, including acrobats from every currently operating Cirque du Soleil production on The Strip, said Mr. Petroni. About 65 crew members will also be involved in the actual production, but more than 1,000 Cirque crew members volunteered their time and talent in some way to prepare for the event.

“Costume designers, technicians, make-up artists – we’re looking at about 1,000 of our team members who’ve been assisting,” he said. “Everyone’s volunteering their time. They have their main job in other shows and then they are working on this in addition. We’ve been running rehearsals in the middle of the night. It’s been a huge, collaborative effort.”

The one-night-only performance promises to be much more than simply a mix of greatest-hits acts from the city’s resident Cirque shows, said Mr. Petroni. This is a fully-formed, unique production.

“This is fully conceptualized, unique show from the ground up – not a best-of Cirque show,” he said. “We’re even adding projectors to the “O” Theatre to transform the space, so it doesn’t feel the same as the iconic venue people may have seen.”

This also marks the first time in Cirque’s history that a show has been developed outside of the company’s Montreal headquarters. Usually, concepts are developed there and then exported, either for resident shows or traveling productions. ONE NIGHT for ONE DROP was fully developed in Vegas.

“The Vegas team is getting a chance to showcase their talents, which is another thing that’s so exciting about this,” Mr. Petroni said. “It gives us a chance to work and think outside the box – to take the normal process and toss it out the window. It’s brought us out of our comfort zone, but in a really good way.”

Individual tickets for ONE NIGHT for ONE DROP start at $150. Individual tickets with gala passes to the pre- and after show benefit parties start at $2,500. For more information, visit cirquedusoleil.com/onenight4onedrop.

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